Extreme Heat Safety Information


Heat related deaths and illnesses are preventable, yet many people don’t take dangerous heat seriously. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2004-2018, 10,527 deaths from heat-related exposure were reported in the United States. More deaths occur due to extreme heat than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes combined.

Summer is filled with lots of heat and humidity. The hot and humid days can make it unbearable to stay comfortable and can also cause health problems, especially for the elderly, young children, individuals with chronic health conditions and outdoor workers. Dangerous heat has the potential to cause health-related illness and death, all of which can be prevented.

The Polk County Health Department urges individuals to take the following precautions during this very hot and humid weather:

  • Two hours of respite in air conditioning can prevent heat-related illness and death from extreme heat.
  • Check on family, friends, neighbors, and clients who do not have air conditioning and assist with plans for taking precautions.
  • When working outdoors take frequent breaks, drink cool water/liquids, and find shade. Employers should monitor outdoor workers for signs and symptoms of heat stress.
  • Drink more water than usual. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink more fluids.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.
  • Limit outdoor activities and events during the mid-day. Schedule workout and practices earlier or later in the day.
  • Never leave infants or children in a parked car.
  • Dress infants and children in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Do not leave pets in parked cars during the summer--they can suffer heat-related illness too.
  • Check the local news for health and safety updates regularly.
  • Always call 911 in case of heat-related illness - heat stress, heat exhaustion or HEAT STROKE can result in death.

Practice Heat Safety (Source NOAA)

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Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke (Source: NOAA)

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Heat and Cars (Source NOAA)

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